Heartbreak for Exeter Chiefs in their fourth successive Premiership Final
It was the third time in four season that the two giants of English rugby collided at Twickenham - and this was the best showdown yet.
The London based side, who proved too strong for Exeter in this year's mouth-watering final, add yet another accolade to their majestic trophy cabinet.
This year's penultimate game certainly lived up to its expectations. With 20 minutes to play it looked like Exeter, who dominated large part of the encounter, were cruising to victory with an eleven-point lead. However, the European champions clawed their way back with three tries in the final quarte to overturn the deficit. It finished: Exeter 34 Saracens 37.
Within just 27 seconds Exeter put their name in the record books by scoring the fastest ever try in Premiership history - It came courtesy of a sloppy mistake from Sarries straight from kick-off. The European Champions failed to catch the ball near their 5-metre line - Chiefs’ Nic White took full advantage by reacting quickest and dotting down under the posts. Simmonds with the extras
What a start!— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) June 1, 2019
The Chiefs go over with just 25 seconds on the clock. Unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/ycvKSBN7fU
However, It didn’t take long for Sarries to respond. Almost immediately after conceding, they pilled on the pressure and dominated the next 15 minutes. Henry Slade, one of Exeter’s star players, received a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on as Sarries hunted their opening score.
With the man advantage, the European Champions scored two quick fire tries and a slotted away a penalty too, giving them a 13-7 lead.
All of a sudden, Chiefs turned the screw. With Slade back on the pitch, Rob Baxter’s side pushed hard to claw their way back into the encounter and set camp deep inside Sarries’ 22.
Following high pressure on Saracens line, Itoje was shown the second yellow card of the thrilling encounter after Exeter won three penalties 2 metres out. Eventually, on his 100thPremiership appearance, Dave Ewers powered his way over the line to reduce the deficit to just three points.
The boot of Owen Farrell added three more points, but the latter stages of the second half belonged to Exeter – who were playing at the top of their game. Thanks
Heart rates were jumping all over the place inside Twickenham when Exeter, once more, used the pace and skill of Tom O’Flaherty and Jack Nowell to gain valuable metres. Johnny Hill finished the move with a try from close range.
To end the half, Simmonds converted a penalty directly in front of the posts as it ended Exeter 22 Saracens 16 at the break.
Unlike the opening 15 minutes, it was a slow start to the second half. But thanks to ruthless midfield defending from the Chefs, Saracens couldn’t build any momentum going forward. Chiefs, however, could.
After sensational work from the backs, Henry Slade scored a try in the corner – Simmonds couldn’t convert from a tight angle.
But, inside a game changing 10 minutes, a rampant Sarries side scored two converted tries.
A valid effort from the 2017 Champions, but it ended: Exeter 34 Saracens 27